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Surrey man cycles the extra mile in BC Cancer Foundation’s Tour de Cure

Cycling charity event raises $7.1 million to support cancer research

Cloverdale resident Brian Dougherty was one of 1,500 cyclists from across Canada, the U.S., Hong Kong and Brazil who set off from Cloverdale Saturday (Aug. 26) on the Tour de Cure.

The fundraising cycling event is the largest in B.C.’s history, raising millions of dollars for cancer care research through the BC Cancer Foundation, Sarah Roth, president & CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation, said.

“Everyone knows somebody with cancer, and the more we can invest in research that springs the hope for cancer erasure.”

The crowd erupted with applause when Roth announced the 2023 Tour de Cure raised $7.1 million for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

“This is the most promising time in cancer research,” Roth said.

“So it’s so important that we ensure that all donor dollars raised at Tour de Cure and through BC Cancer Foundation fund that work.”

This event is deeply personal for Dougherty. He lost his mother to pancreatic cancer in 2000.

Since then, he has been passionate about raising funds for various cancer charities. This is his seventh year taking part in the Tour de Cure.

“It’s just awesome being part of 1,500 riders that all have a similar common goal of going out there and just having a good day today and raising money,” he said.

On the first day, cyclists travelled along two different routes of their choice – one is 100 kilometres and the other is 150 kilometres – before ending at Chilliwack Heritage Park, where they camped out for the night.

On day two (Aug. 27), riders left Chilliwack Heritage Park at 8 a.m. and rode one 100-kilometre route to Hope Memorial Park.

This year, he rode from Cloverdale to Hope with the PCL team. But for Dougherty, his ride did not end in Hope.

“I committed to continue from Hope to Merritt,” he said.

Dougherty had already clocked 206 km before the event even started. His ride began in Whistler on Friday (Aug. 25).

He cycled from Whistler to Langley, riding past Horizon Contracting Group’s head office in Langley, where he is one of the owners.

“It was the longest ride I’ve ever done in my life yesterday,” said Dougherty. “It’s much more enjoyable being part of your community and a team than trying to do it by yourself.”

To raise some more money, he thought he would do something different this year.

“I would have different tiers to help motivate some generosity, which seems to help because I’ve never raised this much money before,” Dougherty said.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, donations were at tier 3, having raised $17,145. This meant his ride would start in Whistler on Friday and end in Merritt.

Dougherty was one of two dozen cyclists that crossed the finish line in Hope before the remainder of day two was called off due to poor air quality. Wearing an N-95 mask for part of the day really helped, Dougherty said.

“I actually heard we passed the cut-off at lunch by only five minutes,” he said.

After a brief break in Hope, he continued to Merritt.

At 7:20 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 27), he pulled into Merritt after having cycled 592 km over three days.

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Brian Dougherty poses for a photo with wife Amanda at the end of his ride for the Tour de Cure in Merritt on Aug. 27, 2023. (Submitted photo)
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Brian Dougherty poses for a photo with his daughters, Mackinley, 11, left, and Vienna, 13, at the end of his ride for the Tour de Cure in Merritt on Aug. 27, 2023. (Submitted photo)

Formerly known as the Ride to Conquer Cancer, the Tour de Cure was created in 2009, and since then it has become a premier fundraising event in B.C., raising millions for leading cancer care innovation through the BC Cancer Foundation.

The 2024 Tour de Cure will happen on August 24- 25. To register for next year’s event visit www.tourdecure.ca.

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Cancer survivors can be seen wearing yellow sleeves at the start of the Tour de Cure in Cloverdale on Aug. 26, 2023. (Photo: Anna Burns)

– With files from Alexander Vaz & Malin Jordan



Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I cover health care, non-profits and social issues-related topics for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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